Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I begin today by restating the words of Jesus, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We already understand that “the rock” to which Jesus was referring was the rock of revelation knowledge that Jesus is Lord, for without His Lordship, there is no Church. But as we look deeper into the place called Caesarea Philippi and its significance, we understand more deeply that awesome and supernatural power that is manifest in the Lordship of Jesus.
The term “gates of hell” has a military connotation. The “gates” of any city or fortress was one of, if not the most fortified places of the city/fortress. It was there that the greatest defense of the city/fortress would be made. More weapons, more men, more training, more might would be brought to bear at that point than at any other. But look at the words of Jesus; “the gates of hell SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT (THE CHURCH).” Do you see the challenge of Jesus? “Gates” were not places of OFFENSE, but places of DEFENSE. Jesus had NO intention of His Church being in a defensive posture, but an offensive one. While it is certainly true that hell does indeed attack believers, the Church as a body should ALWAYS be ONLY on the OFFENSIVE. If that were the case, my dear friend, the devil, all his minions, and hell itself would only have time to be on the defensive. And that is precisely where the Lord wants it to be. Jesus wants us to take the “gates of hell” by force. What the Lord is telling us is that hell, and all its devices, HAVE NO DEFENSE against the Church.
Now, consider again today where Jesus stood when He made that statement. He was standing in the face of the very “gates of hell” when He made His victory declaration. This great declaration of war was not made AFTER the Cross, but BEFORE the Cross. Jesus was declaring the victory of His Church over hell before the battle ever ensued. Do you remember that attitude of David when he challenged Goliath? David declared his victory before he ever selected the stones he would use to kill Goliath. Do you remember the attitude of Elijah at Carmel? Elijah declared the victory before the prophets of Baal ever began their demonic ritual. Where do we stand today? Are we declaring our victory before we gather our stones, before the enemy even mounts a defense, while the enemy still seems to be operating at the top of his game? I declare NOW, I WILL go up and take the country, I WILL arise and go home, I WILL overcome the enemy in battle. For I belong to Christ!
Manna for Today – Matthew 16:13-21; John 6:63; John 15:7; Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 11:12; Galatians 3:13-29